Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Waves of Ice

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This strange weather phenomenon happened in Newfoundland where the waves were actually frozen as they crashed on the beach [1:00]

Possible explanation: This phenomenon, while visually stunning, can be easily explained. It likely wasn’t extremely cold when this occurred, as you can tell by looking at the still liquid mudpuddles and also by the guy in shorts. It was probably early in winter, when the surface of the water in the bays and inlets near these small communities was just beginning to freeze. This thin layer of ice on the surface of the water was thin enough that it was easily broken up by waves on a windy day, and those waves deposited those ice chunks on the beach as they crashed.


  1. #1 bigTom
    January 31, 2008

    I’m not convinced there are any waves. My guess is that a continuous but weak sheet of ice is being driven into the shore -probably by wind pressure, and piling up a the shore.

  2. #2 M Mack
    January 31, 2008

    The incoming tide could have also had an influence on the “piling” effect of the ice.

  3. #3 Andrew Dodds
    February 1, 2008

    I’m reminded of a stint I worked in a chemical factory. Somtimes we had to decant Acetic acid, which freezes at around 16 degrees C; on a cold day it could easily get supercooled. Then the moment it hit the bottom of the vessel you were decanting into, it would freeze, and the freezing would quite literally rise up the stream of pouring liquid and into the bottle you were pouring from, cartoon style.

    Interesting, but also annoying after a while..

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